In a convergence of opinion, IT experts in Pakistan have extended a warm welcome to global FinTech giants like PayPal and Stripe, while also advocating for the development of a robust national payment system to enhance connectivity with the global economy.
Noman Said, a digitalisation expert, tech entrepreneur, and international IT investor, expressed his excitement, stating, “Introducing international payment gateways of PayPal and Stripe could revolutionise Pakistan’s tech ecosystem.”
According to him, interactions with various IT conglomerates, trade bodies, and universities in the US suggest the potential processing of over $800 million in the first year alone. This, he believes, is only the beginning of a transformative journey for Pakistan’s tech landscape.
He said Caretaker Federal Minister for IT and Telecom, Dr Umar Saif should be assisted by the federal and provincial authorities, the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), and IT companies to foster entrepreneurship, digital governance, and technocracy. He believes it is crucial for Pakistan’s broader national interests and envisions a technological charter for economic transformation.
“If PayPal, Stripe, and other international FinTech companies come to Pakistan, it will be advantageous since we have an interconnection with the global economy,” said Monis Rahman, an internet pioneer and entrepreneur, speaking with The Express Tribune. Rahman stressed the importance of building Pakistan’s own payment system, even if international players hesitate. This would ensure financial independence and security, protecting Pakistan’s interconnection with the global economy.
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Speaking to the Express Tribune, economic commentator Faiz Ul Haq highlighted the State Bank of Pakistan’s role in showing compliance and adaptability to internationally-aligned policies, allowing world-leading FinTech and financial gateways to integrate with Pakistan’s financial system. Pakistan, according to Haq, needs to modernise its financial system, policies, and procedures.
From a trade economics perspective, he said there is a consensus that Pakistan’s exports basket needs diversification, with a focus on creating new major contributors beyond textiles. Additionally, broadening the tax net and promoting the documentation of economic activities are seen as key strategies for economic revitalisation.
With 64% of Pakistan’s population being youth, harnessing their potential through the IT sector could be transformative. Haq emphasised the importance of providing freelancers with the status of micro-enterprises under the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) category, as defined by the World Bank.
The potential migration of at least 1,200 IT companies and over 75,000 freelancers in IT & IT-enabled Services (ITeS) to platforms like PayPal and Stripe promises to level the playing field. This transition would empower them to reach and serve customers on par with regional and international competitors, who were previously constrained by limitations in receiving international payments.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th2023.
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